The Q&A Archives: transplanting

Question: I have a

Answer: Teri,

Summer is a really risky time to try to transplant your magnolia. The loss of roots on such a plant is very stressful. Combine this with the heat of summer and your chances of success are very low. November would be a better time, as it would allow the tree some time to settle in and begin root growth before the onset of warm weather.

When you dig the tree, get as much of the roots as possible. The more the better. Experts debate the advantage of cutting back the top, but I think reducing it by about 1/3 is a good idea. Keep the roots moist and minimize root injury by wrapping something such as burlap around the roots to hold the soil together. Keep the root ball moist and place the plant in a bright shady location to minimize sun stresses.

Plant it as soon as you can. Dig the new hole only as deep as the plant's root system, wider is okay.

I wouldn't amend the soil with anything. Your native soil is fine. Don't put fertilizer in the planting hole. The plant will be trying to establish a new root system, and additional nutrients are not neeeded until new roots are established.

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